Former Lions players are rooting for a Browns win so Cleveland doesn’t join Detroit’s 2008 squad as the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
The Browns are currently 0-14, and with each week that has passed this season, it’s looked increasingly like they could finish the season 0-16. Cleveland only has two more opportunities this season to get at least one win and avoid the 2008 Lions’ unfortunate fate.
“I feel for them,” former Detroit linebacker Ryan Nece told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “To be where they are now, there’s only a few men and a few coaches that have gone through what they’ve gone through. It is extremely challenging and it’s something that I’m actually hoping that they find a way to get a win, because just to be able to get that monkey off their back in the next two games, I think will be tremendous for them.”
Nece told Birkett that he tried to give his Lions teammates a pep talk prior to Detroit’s Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers. His teammates weren’t having it.
“It was like, ‘Let’s go get this over with and either we’re going to face the music in that we become 0-16 or we find a way to get a victory and then we never talk about it again,’” Nece said.
Other players from the 2008 team agreed that they don’t want Cleveland to suffer a similar fate.
“I don’t want to have anyone have to go through that,” Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach said. “I just remember how rough that was. Just every week, having to just — it just kept building and building. That’s not football, in my mind. There’s too much other stuff going on, too. I hope they get one.”
Losing week after week is frustrating and disappointing for players, and Lions defensive end Dewayne White said it’s a challenge for players’ families, too.
“It was a rough season in my life, and I can only imagine what those coaches and players are going through — and their families, 'cause it affects not only them but their families,” defensive end Dewayne White said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to join me in that misery whatsoever.”
The Browns face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. San Diego has had an up and down season marred by injuries, and the Chargers are 1-4 over their last five games. In Week 17, it’s an AFC North matchup against the 9-5 Pittsburgh Steelers for the Browns.
But if the Browns can’t get a win against San Diego or Pittsburgh, Cleveland will go down in history with the the 2008 Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history, whether former Lions players are pulling for them or not.